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CPC moves against consumer abuses in ICT sector

…. introduces new Initiative for pro-consumer regulation

By Oscarline Onwuemenyi

Abuja – The Consumer Protection Council  (CPC) announced on Tuesday that it has commenced a pro-consumer initiative aimed at driving unprecedented and positive changes within the ICT sector in the country.

This, according to a statement signed by the Head of Public Relations, Mr. Abiodun Olumuyiwa, was in recognition of the increasing use and reliance on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by almost every segment of the Nigerian populace and the attendant widespread and uncontrollable consumer abuses in the sector.

It stated, “The Council, against the backdrop of increasing consumer abuses in the sector, came up with the initiative to bring succor to consumers on issues such as Automated Teller Machine (ATM) anomalies, poor telecom service delivery, no refund policy for defective ICT devices, abusive sales promotion and loyal programs, as well as a wide range of abuses from ICT enabled services/products.”

The initiative, comprising holistic strategies for the protection of all ICT users and consumers, would commence with the development of a blueprint, the ICT Consumer Protection Enforcement Strategy – for addressing a wide range of consumer issues and enforcing consumer rights under the CPC Laws.

It explained that, “The Strategy would reinforce existing CPC regulations as well as promulgate new ones, all aimed at transforming the respect for consumer issues and compliance with their statutorily guaranteed rights, the true central focus of ICT business and related transactions in Nigeria.

“Part of the new enforcement strategy would include the development of service and product standards, covering technology-related goods and services, whether within the ICT sector itself or in other sectors where ICT operates as service enablers.”

To ensure full implementation of this Initiative, the Council has engaged the services of a foremost ICT Law firm, Technology Advisors, to assist in its renewed efforts to protect, represent and promote consumer rights across the country on any issue affecting the procurement, use and value of all ICT goods and services in Nigeria.

The initiative, according to the CPC, would usher in a new regime of more proactive regulation that would largely curb consumer abuses and restore consumer confidence in the sector.

“The Council’s renewed commitment to safeguarding consumers in the sector is informed by the reality that unless consumers’ interests are properly safeguarded in this fast developing sector in Nigeria, consumers’ confidence may continue to be eroded, and along with it the potential for using ICT as a tool for  economic growth and development in Nigeria may remain a pipe dream.

“Also, the seeming inefficiencies currently being suffered in the sector as services constantly fail to deliver value comparable to prices, could be regained to support more efficient resource allocation and competition in the economy,” it further stated.

Implementation of the initiative, it added, would be done with the support of the ICT sector regulators in broadcasting, telecommunications and information technology (NBC, NCC and NITDA), would be thrown into full throttle from the first quarter of next year.


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